I am not happy to write this. Not a bit. There is absolutely no joy in “I told you so” when “These people are deadly” is again reality.
It’s sickening that having mentioned one murderer so recently, they been invoked in the killing of another 10 innocent people. Another 10 families inverted as misogynistic hate groups congregate online. Update: sadly, this has a ‘more recent incidents‘ section now.
I do think it is our responsibility to pay attention to these elements of hate because ignoring them has never made them go away.
This is a resource for learning about “incels” and associated hate groups of the manosphere – the broiling mess of anti-women communities on the internet. I think it’s important to learn about this, so please take some time if you can.
[Content notes for sexual violence]
“Of all the misogynistic communities I’ve looked at online, this is the most frightening,” @DavidFutrelle says.
— On Point – NPR (@OnPointRadio) April 27, 2018
A great way is to follow David on Twitter and/or get email updates from We Hunted The Mammoth – a truly heroic group, started by him, that summarises what these people are up to so we don’t have to get close to it.
I’ve written about Pick-up Artists before and there is a connection; many who seek the advice of PUAs can end up bitterly turning to the “involuntary celibate” crowd if they find no “success” (in a weak sense of the word; no one who ends up with these people is getting a good deal. They however measure their own success entirely in whether they can bed people, or how many).
“Incel” was actually coined by a queer woman who was just trying to voice the frustration almost all who have experienced a prolonged dry spell intimacy-wise will have felt. For most, it’s an inconvenience, it can feel sad and lonely, frustrating – but those negative feelings are rarely nurtured into a monstrous kind of hate.
There are many routes through dealing with loneliness. Incels as the self-described group, however, turn the hate inwards and outwards simultaneously, blaming the world, blaming women, themselves (without considering the possibility of working on oneself as a valid option) and all the “normies” out there doing what they can’t – and they are violent.
We cannot all opt out
If some hint of these ideas arises around us, every time we show openly that misogyny is unacceptable, the cultural tide slowly turns. The more we do that, the less people adopt it, hide under it, feel driven by it. It isn’t just fed in these niche communities or online, but out in the everyday.
It is always difficult to read the kinds of thoughts they share; a desire for rape to be a legal method for them to sate themselves. A vision of a future war in which they rise up and overthrow to get their own back. It’s graphically violent, dripping with hatred, and all too easy to turn away – but it’s been a privilege (for men in particular) to wave it all off as inconsequential. It isn’t.
The point of my highlighting this is not to present myself as some kind of expert, or just to ‘gotcha’ people who (infuriatingly) refused acknowledge the hate of the last self-described incel man going out to murder people (even though he literally wrote it all down in his manifesto); it is to ask you to educate yourself. To take the existence of hate groups seriously. To take some of the burden of knowing about these people on yourself, lighten the load for everyone, and stop the denial.
It’s very easy to just say ‘nope‘ to all this – I really do understand. We prefer to remember (I say that rather than ‘think’ because I actually think it’s true) that most people are more kind than not. But to ignore these low, terrible elements is to give them room to grow.
So I think it’s important to stop being surprised by things people have focused on talking about for many years – especially if you’re the kind of person who tells people (women especially) they’re exaggerating about the hate that exists for us (and others).
I think it is highly disrespectful to families of victims to keep pretending there is no connection between the deaths; and to the almost uncountable women killed by current or former partners when the media repeats “isolated incident” – hatred of women and the downplaying of its severity has a huge body count. Incels’ may be relatively less but it is not a competition and the more serious people are about tackling the wider/underlying problems of toxic masculinity, the fewer lives we needlessly lose.
It’s not legitimising them unless you start showing support. Learning about them is to be aware, so that we can tackle it. It’s past the stage where you might reasonably worry about amplifying their ideas. They’re already doing that and have been for around 10 years, so it’s time the rest of us got inoculated against it. It doesn’t mean we need to start inviting them onto panel shows and other big platforms – that’s a poor attempt at a solution, too.
Social problems don’t resolve through being ignored. This is a common misconception. If you’re familiar with the thoughts these people have and share, and you stumble upon something, perhaps there’s an opportunity to educate someone. Maybe enlightening words (kind or not) you share can help lure them out of that darkness and back into functioning society.
It’s not our responsibility to always show kindness in the face of hate and may not be the most effective route anyway. It is easier for other men to do so.
Some are beyond help – and no help is received without willingness to be helped in the first place. But some are willing, and some have left those hateful places behind. We need to stop more people seeing these communities and thinking they have something to offer them that the rest of society cannot. Because all they offer is more hatred, resentment, fear, anger and, somewhat ironically, loneliness.
Nobody is owed sex
Please stop voicing initial thoughts like “Well, if they could get laid/pay a sex worker, this wouldn’t happen”. Bullshit. You’re looking at the weed’s leaves and not its roots. You’re also advocating some Handmaid’s Tale level commodification of women’s bodies and policies to match if you start implying we should “Redistribute this resource” (as some creeps already have).
Importantly, it is not a problem solved by access to physical intimacy or indeed sex workers. These people are not full of hate because they don’t get laid – that’s not how the causation flows. Kind of the opposite. Sex very clearly does not prevent male violence. How anyone can seriously posit this I cannot fathom.
Also, they don’t want to pay for sex, that’s not part of their ideology – they hate sex workers just as much as women in general. They want to control us, not be with us. They want a hot woman, an exceptional one, whom they deem worthy. They’re not lacking all opportunity, usually – you can see them discussing how “ugly” or “fat” women’s advances have washed over them with no challenge to their views. It’s not really about sex.
Anyway, no one deserves an abusive partner like these people would very obviously be. They need a LOT of therapy to begin to function as people others -women in particular – would exist safely around. Sex workers have the right to safety, too.
Don’t keep placing responsibility to fix dangerous men on women; it doesn’t work, again, as the body count clearly shows. It’s not about sex.
Also, as I have said before, do not reduce these problems to ‘mental health issue’ or call these people mad/batshit/crazy/insane/nuts – whether they are or not is beside the point. The rest of us with any mental health challenges do not resort to this stuff. It is not an illness or symptom of any illness to be this hateful. Stop.
All I’m asking is that when women are discussion violent misogyny and online hate groups that encourage it, don’t dismiss it as not a problem. Learn something.
Tell your friend his sexist joke isn’t funny. Do something. Anything.
All men have a responsibility to be part of the solution to end all forms of violence against women and misogyny. What we see, hear, say all matter, our #ActionsMatter. #TorontoStrong pic.twitter.com/Yw2XxsuOkv
— Better Men Ottawa (@BetterMenOtt) April 26, 2018
- We Hunted The Mammoth – a dedicated team catalogue various misogynist hate groups’ activities, so you don’t have to.
- Follow: @TakeDownMRAs @MenAgainstMRAs @DavidFutrelle @DrNerdLove
- For Incels, it’s not about sex. It’s about Women. – SPLC
- The Incel Phenomenon: Fixing The Wrong Sexual Crisis – Dr NerdLove
- Incel: the online cult for sad, sexless young men is terrorism by any other name – Mic Wright
- When Misogynists Become Terrorists – Jessica Valenti
- Someone Please Tell The Times That Incels Are Terrorists
- Just another horrific reminder that incels are a bunch of wannabe Elliot Rodgers – David Futrelle
- The Rage of the Incels – Jia Tolentino
- Incels and entitlement: something’s wrong with our men
– Girl on the Net (NSFW site but SFW article)
- Why it’s misogyny not sex – from the perspective of a trans woman who dates men – Thread by @transscribe
- the thing that unites them is a bond of common ideas that deny women thought, agency, and ultimately humanity… – Thread by @alexandraerin
- Why Incels Hate Women – Jennifer Wright
- Incel Tears – reddit
- If incels’ violent misogyny had a role in Toronto, we mustn’t downplay it
– Emer O’Toole
- ‘Raw hatred’: why the ‘incel’ movement targets and terrorises women
– Zoe Williams
- I’ve been working on a piece about Toronto’s relationship to the alt-right, especially the “manosphere.”… – Thread by @arshyman
- Incels: The Movement Behind The Toronto Attack – OnPoint NPR feat. David Futrelle (audio)
- What we know about Alek Minassian, alleged driver in deadly Toronto van attack – CBC.ca
- I CAN’T BELIEVE ANYONE IS SURPRISED… – Thread by @laurakrabapple
- The Fear of Being “Invisible” – Dr NerdLove
- Many other posts here
More Recent Incidents
- Nov 2018: Gunman in Yoga Studio Shooting Recorded Misogynistic Videos and Faced Battery Charges; Florida Yoga Studio Shooting Suspect Was A Far-Right Misogynist; Another ‘incel’ shooter: yoga studio killer wanted to crucify ‘American whores’